3 Major Differences Between Excel Windows and Mac

Major Differences Between Excel Windows and Mac

What is the difference between Excel Windows and Mac?

Most users would feel comfortable using Excel for Mac. However, if you are planning to use some advanced functionality in Excel, you will find that some features just don’t work and there is no clear path for supporting that functionality in Office for Mac. There was a solution: with the latest 16.x release of Microsoft Office for Mac (released on Jan 18, 2018), there are fewer differences between Excel Windows and Mac. Given that, it is important to know them, especially when you have Mac at home and PC at work (or vice versa).

Major Differences Between Excel Windows and Mac

Keyboards and Shortcuts

Keyboards on PC and Mac are different, which means there is a difference in shortcuts. For example, if you need to use “Page Up” or “Page Down”, you would need to click “FN + Up/Down arrow” on Mac. Some of the shortcuts that work on PC would not work on Mac (for example, “Paste only formulas” or “Paste Link” and others). You can access a hot key list that can be used for both PC and Mac.

Missing PowerPivot and Pivot Charts

Excel for Mac does not support PowerPivot and Pivot Charts. Any pivot table having source data based on the Excel Data Model will be unfilterable if the spreadsheet is opened by a MAC user. Pivot Charts are not interactive on Mac and don’t change simultaneously with their source Pivot Table. Instead, they remain static screenshot-like graphs.

VBA Weaknesses

Before Excel for Mac 2016, VBA was non-existent and in a very sorry state now compared to its Windows counterpart. For example, ”Properties'” window is missing; it takes a long time to develop VBA User Forms. Moreover, you can not import or export your VBA codes collection. These are just some of the Mac VBA limitations.


If accessing Windows-only or version specific features on your Mac is the goal, the solution would be to install Windows Excel with Parallel or Boot Camp. Parallels software has a 14-day free trial, and then you’d have to pay for it. Parallels.com allows you to run both operating systems simultaneously, you can easily switch between them and don’t have to reboot your computer. Boot Camp is free and already on your Mac. Go to “Search on the top right corner of your Mac, type “Boot Camp”, and run it following the instructions. When using Boot Camp, you have to reboot your Mac to switch between the operating systems. After installing Parallels or Bootcamp, you need to download Windows from the Microsoft website (free for one month).


Overall, you can use MS Excel for Mac for most actions and functionality, however, if you’re planning to use some advanced functionality, it would be better to use Windows Excel (which you can easily install on your Mac via Boot Camp or Parallel if needed).

keySkillset thought of the differences in Windows and Macs, and we have created an Excel game suitable for both! Moreover, you can switch keySkillset game from Mac version to PC version and back easily – just use the button on the top right corner (see the picture).

Major Differences Between Excel Windows and Mac

Now you can play and learn MS Excel at the same time, and do it on any type of laptop/computer you have.

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